I attended the open meeting at Lee Brigg Club in Altofts on Friday February 15 to discuss the recently announced HS2 route through Altofts. I had no idea what an impact this meeting would have.
Altofts is a sleepy, peaceful little village and to find that this monstrosity of a fast track rail line on stilts in parts is passing through is shocking. Residents of all ages walk or cycle along the canal and river paths; fishermen frequent the canal bank in fishing season; swans, ducks and other birdlife nest along the river and canal banks. It is a haven between two busy cities - Wakefield and Leeds. We are all used to the gentle hum of traffic on the M62 but can still appreciate the wildlife, open fields and simple peace and tranquility. This will be no more as several trains a day, probably an hour come thundering through at high speed.
Most importantly though, Altofts is not a village full of wealthy folk. In general, most people are hard working with very little disposable income. Many are probably struggling in this economic climate to keep the roof over their heads. Now they find that the value of their property will be greatly reduced with the coming of this railway line. This devaluation will not come once the line is built in 20 years but is happening right now.
Even if we want to sell at the reduced property valuations, who will want to come and live in this village? Compensation will only be paid out to a few who will be virtually living next to the track. We are trapped.
Yes, we are trapped and for what? A high speed train link that we cannot even use without travelling into Leeds or Sheffield - travel time that cancels out the advantages of speed. The country already has two fast track lines on each side of the country. Those who wish to travel faster than the trains actually fly. The HS2 line will benefit a few but will ruin the lives of many. A sad but true fact.
This expensive folly impacts on many other areas and residents in the Wakefield area and I speak on their behalf too. I ask the Wakefield Express to support its readership who are affected, and Wakefield Council to support its residents and campaign for halting the building of this rail line.
Rose Farm Approach